Diploma in Executive Leadership

Leadership calls for intelligence. Wise leadership for congregations, denominational bodies, and other faith-based institutions calls for multi-faceted intelligence: emotional intelligence and social sciences intelligence as well as Biblical and theological intelligence. Through the new Diploma in Executive Leadership in its Advanced Pastoral Studies Program, San Francisco Theological Seminary seeks to sustain and enhance the skills of leaders in such ministries.


Students who complete the program will gain:

  • In the “Ways of Being” or Personal Formation dimension of leadership - Deeper self-awareness leading to identification of areas for on-going self-work in “emotional and spiritual intelligence” as a leader of a complex community
  • In the “Ways of Knowing” or Knowledge Base dimension of leadership - Broadened theological perspectives and organizational development understandings for the wise practice of leadership appropriate to one’s context 
  • In the “Ways of Doing” or Strategic Executive Skills dimension of leadership - Expanded capacities in innovative application and adaptation of techniques and tools for organizational communication and collaborative leadership
  • In the membership in a “Community of Practice” aspect of leadership - New relationships with colleagues in ministerial leadership


  • 4 week-end Seminars (Thursday-Saturday) totaling 18-20 contact hours each
  • Pre-class and post-class work and contact via Moodle
  • To be completed in one academic year (September-May)
  • Signature assignment option of a Capstone Project and Paper or an Interactive Experience “Final Exam” Simulation and Reflection Paper


  • Engagement in some form of ministry (not necessarily ordained)
  • BA degree preferred, but not required
  • Previous work in Leadership Studies in a certificate or diploma program involving introduction to:
  • The Distinctive Roles and Tasks of an Executive Leader
  • Systems Approaches to Leadership
  • Adaptive Leadership Approach to Change
  • Conflict management, resolution, or transformation

Examples of qualifying programs:
McCormick Theological Seminary Certificate in Executive Leadership
Seattle University Certificate in Pastoral Leadership


The foundation of the DELP design is a future-oriented posture for leadership:
DELP Seminar I    Faculty: Mary Hess
Redirecting the Focus: Future Tense Leadership
Executive Leadership of the Voluntary Association Kind
Innovative Leadership in Uncertain Times: Revisiting “Adaptive Leadership” Approaches

DELP Seminar II   Faculty: Virstan Choy  
Reframing Communication in Leadership: Listening and Learning While Leading
The Languages of Leadership: Future-Oriented Communication
Context-Based and Culturally-Attentive Approaches 

DELP Seminar III  Faculty: Byron Bland; Luther Smith
Re-Tooling Leadership: Perspectives and Proficiencies for Shared Futures       
Conflict as Opportunity for Transforming Competing Futures to Shared Futures
 “Serpent Wisdom” Leadership: Dealing with Toxic Systems and Environments

DELP Seminar IV  Faculty: Gilbert Rendle      
Reorienting Executive Leadership: Leadership in the Wilderness
Leading an Exodus into an Uncertain Future
Minding the Message:  “Multi-Lingual” Executive Leaders

Capstone Project-Paper
or Interactive “Final Exam” Simulation & Paper  


$ 2,100 for Initial Year of Program


San Francisco Theological Seminary is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior Division, and The Association of Theological Schools.


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Educational Programs

Master of Divinity
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Contact Information

San Francisco Theological Seminary
105 Seminary Rd
San Anselmo CA, 94960
Phone: 415.451.2800
email: info@sfts.edu